Poutin and Foie Gras


First of all, for those who don’t know what “poutine” is… It is a serving of deep fried potato chunks, plated and served with meat gravy and soft cheese curds. The dish is famous in the Canadian Provence of Quebec where the specific ingredients, the preparation and the place of origin are a popular topic of debate in “La Belle Province”.

The next obvious need for explanation is the reference to “Foie Gras.” The literal translation of the French words is “fat liver”… Actually it is the liver from a fatted goose. The procedure of forced feeding of geese to insure maximum pound of liver for pound of grain is traditional in parts of France. However, as served at Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal, Quebec, Chef Martin Picard ( No Reservations visits… ) the chef responsible for the dish pictured below, has proven that if you simply feed geese continually with good grade grain (corn) the silly thing will naturally stuff themselves without any physical encouragement. This insures a nice fat goose for cooking and a “foie gras” of outstanding quality.

And so I present, for your consideration, a dish of double fried potato chips swathed in rich meat gravy and topped with soft cheese curds melting over the hot potatoes and crowned with two thick slabs of sautéed fois gras. The beverage of choice was a McAuslan Brewing Company version of their St-Ambroise Pale Ale…

According to the brewery site – “St-Ambroise Pale Ale is the brewery’s flagship beer. Introduced in February 1989, it is a hoppy, amber, full-flavoured ale. In the Simon and Schuster Pocket Guide To Beer, beer critic Michael Jackson gave it three stars and described it as: “An outstanding ale… amber-red, clean and appetizing, with a very good hop character, from its bouquet to its long finish. Hoppy, fruity, and tasty all the way through.”

McAuslan also brews ale specifically for Au Pied de Cochon. It is a deep copper colored, with a sparkle of carbonation and a thin but dense sandy brown head. Ask for “Rouge” and that’s what you will get.

Why is this the ideal choice of beverage?

The answer is in the ingredients of the poutine. Served perfectly, the warmth of the potatoes and gravy will enable the cheese curds to melt and add a creamy richness to the crisp but savory fried chips of potato. These salty, savory and sharp lactic flavors find flavor friends in the malty sweet and hoppy sharp bitterness of the ale. And so the four basic food groups are joined – sweet, salt, fat and cheese.

What about the Foie Gras?

Here is a meeting of soul mates… Both brew and foie gras synthesize to become a flavor combination of almost extreme excellence. First to arrive is the warm, seared slice of almost liquid rich buttery, slightly metallic flavors of the liver. The following sip of the ale introduces these taste sensations to a cool, liquid with, at first a companion rich sweet grain flavor. These flavors shake hands and then feel the leafy green, almost tannic tang of the hops rushing in but not taking over. After the swallow there are resonances of all these flavors in the nasal sensors and the fleeting tang of the hops clears the way for the next taste of this unique poutine.

Will I ever find out if red wine is actually a better choice?

Only if you buy the wine…

Peter LaFrance

( https://www.beerbasics.com )